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Buildings and Structures

Bridges, houses, towers, tunnels, dams, domes, castles, and skyscrapers are just a few of the different kinds of buildings and structures that you might want to explore. Information about their design, the materials used to create them, and the machines that are necessary to put them together and keep them standing is plentiful. The occasional engineering failure or architectural catastrophe is sure to be a big hit. And of course, without the engineers, architects, and construction workers, where would construction units be!

See "Connecting Technology and Books" to find a selection of building and structure websites which complement these titles.

Bortz, Fred. (1995). Catastrophe: Great Engineering Failure- and Success. W. H. Freeman & Co.
What happens when there is a flaw in the design of a building or structure? Sometimes there are terrible consequences such as collapsed buildings or bridges, plane crashes, or even a nuclear power plant accident. Bortz looks at these types of catastrophes, and how people are able to learn from these engineering failures.


Gibbons, Gail. (1990). How a House is Built. New York: Holiday House.
Gibbons’ text and illustrations concentrate on a wooden frame house to show the process, the people, the equipment, and the materials that go into building a house.


Hicks, Linda Ashman. (2001). Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs. New York: Harcourt.
“Many places make a home…” begins Ashman’s rhythmic look at the many different structures that are home to the creatures that live within them.


High, Linda Oatman. (2001). Under New York. New York: Holiday House.
A cleverly created format divides each two-page spread into above and below ground views of New York City.


Jennings, Terry. (1993). Cranes, Dump Trucks, Bulldozers and Other Building Machines. New York: Larousse Kingfisher Chambers.
This book from the How Things Work series employs cutaway illustrations to give you a detailed look at various building machines, how those machines work, and the special jobs they are designed to do.


Johnson, Angela. (2001). Those Building Men. New York: Scholastic.
Johnson’s lyrical text and Moser’s images honor the men who labored to build America’s canals, railroads, bridges, roads, skyscrapers, and other structures.


Kitchen, Bert. (1993). And So They Build. Cambridge: Candlewick Press.
Humans are not the only creatures that build, as Kitchen so ably demonstrates in this book that highlights twelve builders that just happen to be animals.


Macaulay, David. (2000). Building Big. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
This companion book to the PBS series of the same title examines the planning and design involved in the building of bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, domes and dams. (Do not miss Macaulay’s other titles about various buildings and structures, all of which were published by Houghton Mifflin. Ship (1995), Mill (1989), Unbuilding (1987), City (1983), Castle (1982), Underground (1983), Pyramid (1982), and Cathedral (1981). PBS Building Big website http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/


Maze, Stephanie and Grace, Catherine O’Neill. (1997). I Want to Be an Engineer. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company.
In just forty-eight pages, the authors take a comprehensive look at engineering, touching upon the types of engineers, the necessary education and training, the history of engineering, engineering facts & feats, and famous engineers. Photographs are very diverse. (Also You Can Be a Woman Architect by Margot Siegel, 1992, Culver City: Cascade Press.)


Platt, Richard. (1992). Stephen Biesty’s Incredible Cross-Sections. New York: Scholastic.
The book’s cross-sectional illustrations will make you feel like you’re truly inside the featured structures. Readers gain a new perspective and a better understanding of structures such as The Empire State Building, a coal mine, an oil rig, and a subway station, to name a few.


Severance, John B. (2000). Skyscrapers. New York: Holiday House.
It is possible that this book just might answer every question you have about the history of skyscrapers.


Thorne-Thomsen, Kathleen. (1994). Frank Lloyd Wright for Kids. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.
This book has a dual nature. The first section is a biography of the architect and the second section features activities related to Wright and his work.


Wilkinson, Philip. (1996). Super Structures: How Things Work From the Inside Out. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing.
This book invites you to look inside some of the world’s most unique structures.


Wilson, Forrest. (1995). What It Feels Like to Be a Building. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
This lighthearted look at structural engineering uses humorous illustrations and entertaining text to show what humans and structures have in common. “When you feel what it feels like to be a building, you can talk to buildings and they will talk to you in building body language.”






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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9912078. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.